CER Chair’s Report September 2020

Dear Fellows,

Welcome to the September Assembly of the Continental European Region of AA Great Britain. We are meeting today online as circumstances have not allowed us to meet face-to-face, as initially planned.

These circumstances, resulting from the greatest public health challenge in our lifetime, have had a dramatic effect on our fellowship and how we conduct our affairs. Many meetings throughout Europe were forced to close, many opting for one of the online platforms now thankfully available. As a result of the selfless service of countless fellows, the transition has been quick and smooth.

Now that the lockdown is being gradually lifted, many Groups find that their current venues are now deemed unfit for purpose, in light of the respective new COVID guidelines. This has spurred us into action to find new, suitable, venues, no easy task. Many Groups and Intergroups are experiencing severe disruption.

Groups are dealing with the prospect of some members wishing to meet face-to-face, some preferring to join online from home and some proposing a hybrid solution to meet all needs. Overall attendance at meetings is down while there is a definite increase in the numbers of newcomers, attending AA meetings for the first time. This trend also brings new challenges and fresh opportunities.

The last six months have been tough, to say the least. The measure as to how well we are meeting the challenge is the state of Unity among us. When this is tested, we can turn to these words written by Bill Wilson in 1955:

`How shall we A.A.’s best preserve our unity? That is the subject of this booklet.

When an alcoholic applies the Twelve Steps of our recovery program to his personal life, his dis-integration stops and his unification begins. The Power which now holds him together in one piece overcomes those forces which had rent him apart.

Exactly the same principle applies to each A.A. group and to Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole. So long as the ties which bind us together prove far stronger than those forces which would divide us if they could, all will be well. We shall be secure as a movement; our essential unity will remain a certainty. ´

Full text can be found here.

There is a gift in every situation. The last months have brought the international fellowship closer together. People who, due to geography, would never have attended meeting together form new friendships and enrich each other’s lives.

If we work our programme, adhere to our traditions and continue to serve selflessly, I am confident we will, as a fellowship, emerge from today’s situation even stronger and better equipped to carry the message, which has given us lives beyond our wildest dreams, to those still suffering alcoholics who need it.

We meet again (online) on the first weekend of December. Until then, keep well, keep sober and thank you for your service!

Patrick L – Chair, Continental European Region